Poly Roundup

Note: I won’t be having Poly Roundups as the Gentle Butch anymore — I will answer these questions individually and with the loving attention they deserve.

I am a 49-year-old bisexual cisman who has been partnered for more than ten years with two older het-married women. One of them is polyamorous; the other is not. So when I say I have two partners, I don’t mean I have two sex partners.

Both of my long-time partners are more than ten years older than me, and lately both of them have been encouraging me to find a new partner who can accompany me in my pursuit of activities such as urban exploratory bicycling for pleasure (established) and backpacking (new ambition).


As a middle aged kinky poly fat bi dyke leaning towards butch who is also disabled to boot, I thought dating was hard six years ago when I was single. With all of the above still true but now also being married and with pre-schoolers, I’m finding dating entirely impossible. My current theory is that polyamory frequently ages into de facto monogamy when all but one of your relationships end for whatever reason, leaving you and the one you are parenting with are busy picking a kindergarten and figuring out whose turn it is to run your adored yet time consuming offspring to lessons.

Tl;dr- I would like to meet new interesting people and do old interesting things with them, but this whole being a middle aged parent of small kids thing is getting in the way. How does one meet people? How does one meet toppy poly people who like your kids and your spouse?

P.S. Feel free to forward along any emails you get from people who read this and think I sound delightful.

Dear Poly Seekers,

You guys. All the poly people are on OkCupid. You can even select ‘nonmonogamous’ from the drop-down. It’s easy. There’s tons of poly folks there. Even middle-aged ones who like to bicycle and have preschoolers and stuff. Go sign up for that!

I hope I do not sound flippant. I know that finding partners can sometimes seem like a difficult thing for non-monogamous people, as though non-monogamy were some terrible strike against you. We live in a world that tells us:

  • You will not find anyone unless you conform to what everyone else is doing.
  • You are damaged if you want or need something else.
  • You will be rejected and weird and you deserve it and no one wants you.

Bullshit! All of the above are a bonus. You don’t want to control whom your partners sleep with! You are both bi and therefore better in bed than monosexuals!* Other poly/non-monogamous people are looking for YOU!

Some specific things: Bike dude! Did you notice that you wrote to a columnist without actually telling her what the problem was? You just sort of presented me with your situation passively. I know this is a small sampling of your work, but if this is indicative of the effort you are willing to put into things, I think you’re going to have to go more out on a limb if you want to find some other people to bike and bounce booties with.

Middle-aged kinky parent: I already told you about OkCupid, but I also want to tell you this: I know that middle age makes us feel as if life is so so so much shorter than we used to think it would be and that we are old. And yes – kids are exhausting. But middle age is only the middle (if we’re lucky), and we’ve still got a lot of living left to do. Kids are also funny and interesting and make for great stories that someone is bound to enjoy hearing from you. Don’t be afraid to at least go out and try.

*do not argue with me, people. Bi and Pansexuals are better in bed. This is just science. I never just make stuff up that may or may not make me look good.


One of my partners is married with two young kids. I go over almost every other Saturday to help watch them, and have recently given up a free weeknight to have dinner with them regularly. This is a rather big deal to me since I’m working on being an author and need alone time to write. I agreed to this after he communicated to me that he felt like my other partners get to see me a lot more often. This is true, mostly because neither of them have kids, and thus have a lot more free time.

Here’s the issue: he consistently says his wife won’t “let” him have time for a date with me. Kid things take priority, or she needs him home, or she plans things, or whatever. It’s been months since we had a date. I’m pretty attached to him, so I’m very reluctant to distance myself. I also like his wife a lot.

I feel like it’s time to have a sit-down with them both and hash things out, find out what’s actually happening, and try to get to a more equitable situation. I need advice on what’s reasonable, as I’m so frustrated with the situation I’m not sure I can be objective. Help?

Your problem is not with this couple. Your problem is with your partner.

Sure, he says that his wife will not ‘let’ him have a date with you. But you already know how ridiculous this is – you put the word ‘let’ in quotes. So you already know what I’m going to say: a grown man does not need permission from someone else to do something. He either does it or he doesn’t. And he takes responsibility for that.

He does not blame his wife as if he is a passive helpless creature in this world upon whom other people act. He says: “I would rather spend time with my wife than with you. I would rather earn points with her and hang out with my kids than tell her that I need alone-time with you.”

He is the one you need to speak with. Not her. He is the problem.

Not only will he not make time for you one-on-one yet happily takes your help in childcare, he has the gall to demand MORE of your time without offering you any such consideration in return. And then he blames it on his wife.

Maybe when you call him on it, he’ll step up. What you’ve told me so far does not convince me that he is a particularly brave or forthright or stand-up guy for you. But maybe.

I’m gonna recommend OkCupid for you, too. You deserve someone who values your time as much as he values his own (and his wife’s). It is not okay to treat someone outside of the already existing couple as if her time and her needs are nothing compared to the couple’s. That is straight-up bullshit. I also suggest you read this wonderful piece on secondary polyamory, and how solo poly folk deserve to be treated with care and love and basic human understanding: Five Things Your Secondary Wants You To Know.

You deserve better. As I mentioned to the other two letter-writers, someone out there is going to think you are amazing and perfect and want to treat you like the wonderful find that you are. If this guy cannot step up, no matter how attached you are to him, go find someone who will.

These letters appeared originally in bitterempire.com on November 19, 2015.

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